Sunday, February 25, 2007

Show me the money

So, President Bush is planning his twelfth visit to the Hurricane Coast to show is famous compassion for victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood. Unless he is bringing a military transport full of cash, he should keep his sorry ass away. Nobody down here but the most soulless political hack or blind partisan could take him seriously in this context.

While I try to keep pure partisan politics out of this space, I am not at all like Ethel Williams of the Ninth Wary, whom NPR reports holds no bitterness at being used as a prop and discarded by Bush. I have made my views quite clear. When the President showed up in November 2005 and stood in Jackson Square and promised national action, people all over the nation took him at his word. Only those of us who live here know it was pure bullshit, a Potemkin rescue only meant for damage control over federal culpability for the failure of their levees and the government's inept response.

If you're one of those unthinking partisans who are here to rush in and tell me about Nagin and Blanco, save your fingers the typing. They will have their own special place in hell for how they have failed us. Blanco in particular is damaged goods and no amount of posturing is going to bail her out at reelection time.

Bush is in many ways Blanco's twin: both claim to have done something for us, but in fact have not delivered. While the governor has pasted her name on the Long and Winding Road Home Plan, parts of Bush's speech as as predictable as his mannerisms in delivering it. And the content will have all of the depth and veracity of a Saturday Night Live performer mocking the president for his tics of speech.

Let's cut to the chase: there has been no $110 Billion in assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood. Anonymous blogger da po blog has been all over this since early last year, carefully counting up the totals. If you don't trust anonymous bloggers, one might note that he has been weeks and months ahead of the major media, and his postings have been confirmed by the Times-Picayune (which for all I know lifted their article, or at least their story ideas, straight from DPB).

An apocryphal story claims Huey Long once claimed a political opponent was lying. When a reporter asked him now they would know if he was lying, Long supposedly said 'if his lips are moving, he's lying.'

If Bush says $110 Billion on this visit, you will finally have answered the question political pundits on cable TV have argued famously for the last six years: Is Bush a Liar? If he claims that $110 Billion has been sent, then you will know (as we all do) that he is in fact A Lying Sack of Shit.

I just hope that I have the opportunity to be stuck somewhere in traffic as his motorcade passes through town list week,so I can salute him in the way some people stopped in his traffic did last visit, with obscenities and gestures not suitable for the evening news. Pardon my while I load some eggs into the trunk of my car to begin aging.

No, wait: that's not the ending this deserves. In the end, the lesson of the Federal Flood is that a generation of Republican sabotage of the federal government is that we no longer have the capability to do great things through government.

The only glimmer of hope for the future of America is the story of the 200,000: those damaged by the hurricane and the failure of the federal levees, who have made their way home and are rebuilding without any real federal assistance. And that's the real reason I hope I get a chance to toss an egg Bush's way. He does not deserve to come here.

What success there is here is in spite of him, and the governor and the mayor. They insult and sully the work of the 200,000 by trying to bask in its glory. It would be better if he stayed away, but if he insists on coming I hope that we don't all emulate Ms. Williams and try him with southern politeness and reserve. He is a scoundrel. He promised something direly needed and meant not a word for it, which is an unforgivable sin in the south. He is beyond the reasonable expectation of civil treatment.

So whether your plan to greet him with jeers and signs and rotten eggs, or simply ignore him as irrelevant, be sure to give the President the reception he richly deserves. Tell him to send his wife, instead. At least she has the grace to bring something when she shows up uninvited.


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"And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcome, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive." -- Audie Lorde

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